Environmentally Sensitive Areas

Environmental Services provides guidance and support to the Community to understand and appreciate Environmentally Sensitive Areas and provides guidance to the Development Community on how to sensibly develop on property with Environmentally Sensitive Areas.

Local Environmentally Sensitive Areas

The City of Denton has identified four distinct types of ecological habitats - Floodplains, Riparian Buffers, Water-Related Habitat, and Cross Timbers Upland Habitat - that provide for the community in many ways and are environmentally sensitive.

The Many Benefits of a Healthy Waterway

Promote Community Wellness. The City of Denton relies on surface water from Denton: runoff draining off our land and through streams, and entering Lakes Ray Roberts and Lewisville, the City's drinking water source. Our residents' health benefit from using nature to maintain high water quality. Vegetated buffers also serve as a source of greenspace. Even small outdoor spaces can serve to reduce health risks, encourage general wellness and accomplish specific social or psychological benefits.

  • Provide Monetary Benefit: Vegetative buffers protect private property that can be substantially threatened when changes in waterway alignment occur. Although natural streams and waterways are dynamic and can be expected to meander, vegetative buffers reduce the potential for expedited property loss.
  • Increase Bank Stability: Herbaceous and woody plants in riparian buffers strengthen the stream bank as the root system penetrates through the topsoil and into the bedrock, adding flexible strength that can resist stresses, such as flood events.
  • Reduce the Negative Effects of Urbanization: Historically, urbanized areas have experienced a disruption in the natural water balance, including increased peak flood events, increased stormwater runoff, more frequent flooding, increase bank-full flows, lower dry weather flows and reduced groundwater discharge. Vegetated buffers offer a measure of protection from these effects by readily absorbing runoff and holding moisture.
  • Remove Pollutants: Vegetated buffers are an effective and economical way to filter and sequester sediment, metals, nutrients, and other chemicals, reducing water pollution.
  • Serve as a Source of Ecological Resources: Vegetation, microorganisms, macroorganisms, and other inhabitants in and around streams uptake and convert harmful chemicals and excess nutrients into complex organic forms of nutrients, recycling important resources for ecological food cycles.
  • Provides Wildlife Habitat and Corridors: Stream life includes bacteria, algae, aquatic insects, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and mammals. All require a hospitable aquatic environment to live, produce, interact, and thrive. Riparian buffers adjacent to water plays a crucial role in maintaining a range of suitable habitats and conditions within the channel for a diverse and self-sustaining cycle of aquatic life. In the urban setting, riparian buffers provide connectivity between patches of habitat, allowing wildlife to use these corridors for dispersal and migration.
Many Benefits of a Healthy Waterway

Official Environmentally Sensitive Areas Map

The City of Denton has adopted an Official ESA Map of Environmentally Sensitive Areas throughout the City, identified through the best information available from aerial photographs and records such as a soil survey from the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) and FEMA floodplain maps. It is important to know that the boundaries of some unstudied ESAs may be updated based on the most current information available.

View the Official ESA Map of the City of Denton Online Map Viewer.